ABSTRACT

Do these places sound familiar? Bunia, Drodro, Kalonge, Bouali and San Carlos de Antioquia. No. Well, all these villages and small towns have experienced appalling atrocities in recent years. In the case of the Congolese village of Bunia, for example, in April 2003 militias using machetes, axes and knives massacred 966 villagers who were tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time. Over the last five years, at least 4 million people have died as war, disease and starvation have taken a terrible toll on the people of the Congo. Since the overthrow of the dictator, Mobutu, the country formerly known as Zaire has been racked by civil war and international intervention. For many Central Africans, the protection of human rights is a chimera. A decade earlier, Rwanda was the scene of a genocide which claimed the lives of at least 800,000 and the International Tribunal based in Tanzania investigating ‘crimes against humanity’ has thus far handed down guilty verdicts on just nine perpetrators. Given the length of time taken to secure these convictions against members of murderous militias, the victims of the Rwandan genocide may well have to wait for decades if not a century to secure any form of justice (Cockburn and Zarkov 2001).